Midlife Spare Tire & The Glycemic Index Part II – Understanding the Glycemic Index & How It Affects You

Glycemic Index Graph & Foods

In part I of Midlife Spare Tire & The Glycemic Index, you learned that consuming High Glycemic Index (GI) foods over time causes many internal and external adverse effects, in particular insulin insensitivity which can lead to diabetes, cardiovascular disease and the most puzzling physical manifestation, your spare tire around your middle that won’t deflate.

Understanding the GI index and its effect on your blood sugar, then using it to make healthy food choices will help you live more vibrantly with greater energy.    With all of your systems working in harmony, you’ll have the bonus side effect of being able to drop your unwanted pounds especially from around your middle. Yeah!!!!

The Glycemic Index (GI) Measurement System – Good Fuel versus Bad Fuel

The GI is a numeric rating system of how quickly carbohydrates in your foods (things like cereals, muffins, vegetables, potatoes, drinks, etc.) are digested and absorbed into your blood becoming blood sugar or glucose.   It is a scientific measurement system of the quality of your body’s primary source of fuel, the carbohydrates in your foods.

Good fuel promotes health while bad fuel leads to weight gain and disease.

The GI ranks how quickly foods raise the body’s blood sugar/glucose. The ranking goes from 1 to 100, with the benchmark of 100 being glucose (water mixed in sugar).

70 – 100: High GI Carbohydrate foods spike your blood sugar very quickly, cause many cascading effects and are undesirable. Think of High GI foods much like kindling wood which is the fuel used to start fires. Kindling is porous, burns intensely for a short period of time giving off lots of heat, crackles and bursts with flying embers and then dies quickly. Some examples of High GI foods include most things white such as white rice, white bread, baked potatoes, most pastries, desserts and soft drinks.

55 to 70: Medium GI Carbohydrate foods are moderately desired. For example: pineapple, bananas, basmati rice and whole grain bread.

Under 55: Low GI Carbohydrate foods are the most desirable. Low GI foods keep your blood sugar stable, providing high quality fuel that is clean providing sustained energy.  Think of Low GI foods much like hardwood logs fuel a fire. The logs are dense and burn slowly giving off much heat and light for an extended period of time creating far fewer sparks and debris than kindling. Some examples of Low GI foods that are the most desirable include: berries, many vegetables, whole oats, celery, raw apples.

The good news is that there are lots of great low and medium GI foods that can replace your favourite high GI foods. It is worth exploring these options especially when you realize the harmful effects of High GI foods.

The Cascading Harmful Effects of High GI Foods:

Why are High GI foods undesirable fuel? Simply put – they are not your body’s perfect fuel. Like kindling they enter the body too quickly causing a cascade of harmful effects that can include:

  • sparks and crackles in the form of free radicals which cause oxidation to your cells.
  • irritation and inflammation in your blood vessels from too much glucose.
  • a state of emergency in your body as your brain’s glucose receptors signal that you are drowning in glucose.
  • the release of large amounts of insulin (fat storage hormone) to quickly shuttling the excessive glucose out of the blood and stop the emergency.
  • filling up your fat cells with your excess glucose or, if they are full, the creation of new fat cells.
  • a state of emergency at the other end of the spectrum as your brain’s sensitive glucose receptors signals it is starving because the previously released insulin over shoots it’s mark, lowering your glucose below blood fasting levels.
  • uncontrollable hunger as your body signals (though the release of more hormones) that you need to fill-up your emergency glucose stores.
  • the development of a spare tire, belly fat, insulin resistance, diabetes, cardiovascular and several other diseases as a result of spiking your blood glucose levels over and over and again several times per day for several years. Definitely not desirable!!

Join me below for Part III of this subject as I share some great tips for using the GI to live a more vibrant whole life and some great resources.

Midlife Spare Tire & The Glycemic Index Part III – 10 Tips On How to Use the Glycemic Index (GI) For Optimum Health & Great Resources

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